Trick to Weight Loss May Be Found in Your Friends

If you have ever wondered why people who live in the city are generally thinner than their country-dwelling counterparts, a new study may hold some answers. It turns out that people who live in close quarters and have a lot of social interactions are thinner. In other words: people who work at home all alone in a big house (read: me) are pretty much the fattest of them all.

In all seriousness, the study from Ohio State University discusses two kinds of fat -- white and brown. White fat stays around your middle and brown fat actually burns calories. In the study, when mice were placed in socially challenging environments -- those that contained 15 to 20 animals, along with running wheels, toys, tunnels, and a maze -- they turned white fat into brown fat. Those mice lost more abdominal fat and gained less weight.

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So the key to weight loss may be to be in stressful, highly charged social situations, something people who live in the country and who work at home have far too few of. Now it seems we NEED to get out more.

When a person works from home or is a stay-at-home mom, sometimes it can feel like you go months without social interaction. I am almost happy for the return of school just to see people at drop-off and pick-up times.

There are ways, however, to get more social interaction (and hopefully weight loss, too). Here are some:

  • Join a gym over running: As a runner who spends a lot of time outside, alone, it would probably be good for me to run more on the dreadmill, er, TREADMILL. Being close to other humans might help me lose weight.
  • Work next to friends: Sometimes I get so lonely just hanging out at home. It would be good to meet up with another friend who works from home and work together. And if weight loss comes as a result? Well, then all the better!
  • Work at Starbucks: If you usually work at home, try working out in public.
  • Go to the park: Instead of staying in the backyard, head out to the public park. You will see people, and bonus (!) they will annoy you! Even more brown fat for you!
  • Take a bus: There is no place more crowded and stressful than a public bus. Do it at rush hour and lose even more.

Every little bit counts, right?

Do you think this study is correct?


Image via brogge1/Flickr

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